Friday, 29 June 2012

Abakhan Craft Challenge....

I decided this month for my craft challenge in collaboration with Abakhan to make one larger project. I opted to use all of the wadding and almost all of the the two fabrics and bias binding, and made a pretty quilted playmat. I think it has many a use, perfect to roll up in the car and take on little journeys where something a little softer is required to pop ones derrière on. Also Miss. Poppins has enjoyed having it as a place for her dolls to rest, and it also looks just so sweet laid at the end of her bed. 

I just very simply pieced the three together and then quilted the top using four sewing lines to give it a little more volume and sewed the bias ( not too neatly I have to admit ) along the edge to give a pretty finish....  


Here it is hanging on the line and I just love that charming crinkled look....


Miss. Poppins' rag dolls certainly looked at home on it....


A couple more soft toys then came along to the party....


I really love the vibrant hot pink and floral corduroy side, it looks really pretty at the end of Miss. Poppins' bed and is so soft to touch....


For me though I think the dainty floral side is my favourite and I think gives a lovely shabby chic, vintage look....


I think it a lovely little make for my daughter and coming in at just over £14 for all the supplies from Abakhan, I would imagine something similar and ready made in shops, would cost more than that. I have decided to make a couple of matching cushions with the left over fabric for her bed too, so would really tie in the look. I am really enjoying seeing what other people have made in this challenge and certainly helps get the creative juices flowing :)

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Disclosure: I was given a £15 voucher to spend on the Abakhan website for the purposes of this blog post.   

Friday, 22 June 2012

Toucan Box Review....

Being a parent who enjoys craft myself, I really try to encourage creative play with my own children and therefore I was more than keen to try out a Toucan Box I really like their concept of a themed children's craft box being sent full of crafts to entertain the young at heart. A box is sent each month, full of crafty projects, along with a booklet with simple instructions on how to make everything up and there is even a story book included which is related to the theme of your box. Your child's name is printed on the front of the toucan box which makes it a very personal gift, and the box itself can be used in one of the crafty projects where it turns into its very own safari scene. When the toucan box came for Master Poppins to play with and see what he and I thought, he couldn't wait to get all crafty....


The theme for his box was Safari, and the four main projects to make were....

Pipe Cleaner Monkeys
Sarfari Animals
A Rainbow and Safari Scene
Poms Pom Animals

The story book was called Squeak The Lion and is about Squeak who wants to be just like his older brothers and is a charming, coming of age story that is bursting with the colours of Africa. There is also a lovely, colourful tin of wild animal trump cards to play together. As well as this there are of course all the crafts to make up the projects, such as polysterene heads, plastic eyes, pom pom makers, paper fastners, lolly sticks, cut out animal faces, wool, pipe cleaners, felt tips, brightly coloured tissue paper, a glue stick, 10 colouring in animal sheets of paper, 1 rainbow sheet, and animal cutting templates. Master P loves sticking, gluing, cutting, drawing, and colouring in etc so this really is the perfect way to spend his time. He wanted to make up the pipe cleaner monkeys first and I have to say they looked rather cute....  


He really got into the swing of things and happily sat through making many of these crafty things....


He just loved making the snake....


I really think Toucan Box a very high standard craft box and I was delighted with the quality of the craft supplies that came with it. So much so that I think I shall take out a subscription as when I work out what I spend individually on the children in craft stores each month, this makes for a very worthwhile investment. The fact that all the crafts come neatly packaged in the child's own named big box an extra bonus as I think this keeps everything all neat, tidy and in one place.

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Toucan Box can be taken out monthly at £19.95, 6 monthly at £18.95 or an annual subscription at £16.95. All subscriptions come with free delivery.   

Disclosure: One toucan box was sent for the purposes of this blog post.   

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Craft Challenge With Abakhan....

It is time where I hook up with Abakhan  again and get my crafting mojo in gear. Abakhan have teamed up with various crafty bloggers to initiate a creative budget craft challenge to showcase what can be made with a relatively small budget ( in my case £15 ) spent on crafty supplies from their website. You can read about my first creative budget post here and I decided to go for a Jubilee theme. I handmade many a little project with my small budget and this time around I wanted to concentrate on maybe making just one or two items. I knew I wanted a pretty, floral theme....



I couldn't resist this pink floral corduroy at £4.28 per metre and I thought this roses and bows fabric at £6.25 so very pretty. I also popped in a metre of wadding at £2.65 for a metre and some hot pink bias binding at just £1 for 5 metres. My total spend was even under the £15 budget at just £14.18. I had an idea in mind of what I wanted to make but seeing it up close, the corduroy especially is so colourful I have one or two other ideas as well. 

I shall be back soon with what I have made and if you are taking part in this challenge also, please say hello as I would love to see what you are making with your creative budgets too :)

Happy Crafting....

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Disclosure: I was given a £15 credit to spend on the Abakhan website for the purposes of this blog post

Monday, 18 June 2012

Fifty Shades....

I must be one of last people in the world to see and read all the hype about this book. I kept hearing other people talking of it, giggling, telling me I MUST get it. I felt very much that I was missing out on something rather special, and I was eager to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. So, for just a little short of £3 I am now reading all about the antics of Mr. Grey....

  
The thing is, it's not really floating my boat. Maybe I am past it, maybe I just didn't take to the term 'Popsicle' being used as an analogy for a certain something of Mr. Grey's. I admit I still have a way to go with it, but am  keen to hear whether I should carry on, that, as I progress further into the book, I shall indeed become one of those who says to others "You really HAVE to get this" I am one of those that a book ( especially of this genre) has to take me on a journey of self discovery and I need a good story to back it up. Well, this book, raunchy though it is, I feel lacks real substance. Maybe I am thinking too much and wanting more, maybe I should take it for what it is, enjoy the good bits and miss out the not so good.... 

So, have you read it? Has it been everything that you hoped it would be.  

Would love to know your thoughts....

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Handmade Heart Swap Update....

This weather is getting a little depressing isn't it. I am a hold the sunshine in your heart and everything shall shine kind of girl, but this weather is just too much and I am craving the sun again. The sun always comes along to tease us, and then runs away, back behind the clouds before you know it. We have an exciting weekend planned here that the little Poppins are involved in, and even just dry weather would be lovely jubbly. I shall keep my fingers tightly crossed.

So, I just wanted to do a quick update to hope that you are all happy crafters any of you that have signed up for the Handmade Heart Swap I can't wait to see what you have all made or thrifted. A couple of photographs have been popped onto the Flickr group and they are just beautiful. Seeing those and making these lavender hearts a couple of days ago for some very special people has certainly got me in the mood for crafting for my heart swap partner.


So I hope you have all hooked up with each other and I think we shall have to link up at swap time, as I don't want to miss anyone's photographs :)

Happy Crafting....

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Speedo Tastic....

Speedo is a brand that one instantly associates with swimming, which is something when I get the opportunity to do, I love. I was more than keen to review a costume from Simply Swim's Speedo swimming costumes  range and enjoyed my browse selecting a costume that I thought in keeping with my style and what would be a practical choice to swim in. I have to say I had thought speedo fashion not really my thing, but I was so impressed with the range and there are even one or two in my favourite pink, infact this one really took my fancy....

      
As it is, I am kind of a bikini gal, and with the hot weather ( which feels so long ago now ) I thought I would be brave and choose a two piece set that as well as having a good swim in it, I could also wear it to relax around the garden in. It didn't take long for me to choose one from their beach range, I really liked the look of it so went for this one which I thought pretty too.


I think the two tone colour way very stylish and the fact it has a little of my favourite pink in their an extra bonus. The bikini top I thought especially lovely, with it's trendy 'T' shape. It looked really sporty and when it arrived I couldn't wait to try it on. The first thing I noticed is how very, very comfortable it is. Some swim suits can dig in here and there, though this is a delight to wear and I think looks just as delightful too. The size is spot on and I just love the contrast pink waistband. I can't wait to wear it on my next swim, it has a super high quality feel to it and I can imagine wears really well in the water. I did take it on holiday over half term, and on one of the warmer days I wore just the bikini top with a pair of shorts in the garden. 

Am not quite brave enough to do a proper share of me in the speedo bikini ;) But was just brave enough to share the lovely bikini top....


And that stylish 'T' shape....


I just love the hint of pink and look forward to packing it when I next go swimming and also popping it in my holiday beach bag. It really is one versatile bikini that I think looks really good too.

X

Disclosure: I was sent one Speedo two piece bikini for the purposes of this blog post. 



Thursday, 7 June 2012

Craigside Inn Brewers Fayre Review....

When I was invited to do a restaurant review last weekend and knowing how much I love my food, I found it hard to say no. The review was for a Brewers Fayre pub restaurant and was at the Craigside Inn  North Wales. I have eaten in Brewers Fayre pub restaurant's before, and find them just fine for family eating and their generous portions certainly help wave goodbye to those hunger pangs. The children love to go as there is often a play area and eating there can offer great value for money. I decided to make a family event of it and altogther 7 of us and the two children went along for a lunchtime meal.


They offer a super menu deal Monday - Friday (12 - 6.30pm) where from a selection of main meals you can choose 2 for £10. As we were eating on a Saturday, obviously we couldn't take advantage of this but I thought definitely worth a mention. We were greeted with a smile from staff and promptly taken to our table by the window which offered beautiful views of the North Wales coast.


With Brewers Fayre pub restaurant's you order at the till point, and working out what 9 people wanted to eat did take a little time, however we never felt hurried along by staff and chatted away as a family whilst deciding what we would all choose. Once we had made our choices I made my way over to the till to order. Ordering ran very smoothly and drink orders were also taken and these quickly came to the table. Staff were very pleasant at all times and we were asked on more than one occasion if things were alright etc. Food arrived very promptly and amongst the pizza's ( the children's choice of food ) there was Fish & Chips....


Beef & Ale Pie's....


And I kept digging into these onion rings which I have to say were just delicious....


We all tucked into our food, which was going down very well indeed. Soon however I became aware that 3 of my party who had ordered the Beef & Ale Pie found the edge's of the pastry crust very hard indeed, infact so hard it couldn't be cut into. The majority of the pie could be eaten,  but I felt it a shame that the rest of it wasn't really edible. So, I felt it was time  for my communication skills to be played out and I discretly went over and spoke to the duty manager, who I have to say was most professional in my speaking to her about it. She explained how the pie's are cooked and after coming to the table to speak with the three people who had ordered the Beef & Ale Pie's, could see straight away that these had been over cooked at the edges. She apologised and offered for the cost of each pie to be refunded or for complimentary desserts. The three all decided on complimentary puddings, can you tell we all like pudd's in our family ;)

As soon as the delicious puddings arrived the overcooked pies were soon forgotten about and every last crumb was eaten up and enjoyed by everyone. The children enjoyed their jelly and ice-cream, and I enjoyed helping the husband out with his yummy banoffee pie :) After some family chit chat the children decided they wanted to go outside for a little play and I thought it an appropiate time to go and pay for the meal. It was again the duty manager who dealt with my bill and who also informed me that she would indeed be refunding the cost of the Beef & Ale pies also as they really weren't at the high standard she felt they should have been at. Often in the service industry it is how things are dealt with when things are perhaps not as one would expect that can make all the difference to a negative or a positive experience, and in my opinion I was more than happy with the outcome, which was dealt with in a professional and friendly manner from the duty manager. I would definitely go back again. So after settling the bill I said my goodbyes and went outside to see how the children and the rest of my family were getting on....


 Judging by the out of focus photographs, they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. As for myself, I couldn't resist a little sit down to take in all those lovely views....


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Disclosure: I was given a £50 voucher to redeem against the total cost of our meal for the purposes of this blog post. I paid the difference of the total cost myself.


F7ZTUC9ESRJV

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Joyous Jubilee....

Hello, I hope you are all enjoying the many jubilee festivities that have been taking place this bank holiday weekend. Like many places in the country we were awash with rain on Sunday and so the jubilee dresses that the husband had bought for myself and Miss Poppins to wear duly stayed on their little hangers. I just love the cheeriness of Miss. Poppins' little number....


Weekends can sometimes be spent doing a little thrifty shopping by myself, though I have been a very good girl and shopping hasn't really interested me too much this Jubilee weekend. I really didn't want to miss a second of the Queen and all the celebrations on the television. Of course I had to make a little purchase or two and I wanted an anniversary tin of biscuits from good old M&S to keep as a  memento. As I heard they were selling out quickly I hot footed it over to see if there were any left as I really wanted the London inspired tin. When I saw there were a couple left on the shelf in the basket the tin went, though as I made my way to pay I noticed this pretty Jubilee tin of shortbread too, I just couldn't resist it so in the basket it went too....


I haven't gone to town in terms of buying jubilee inspired goods as much as I thought I would at all, though there have been a couple of items I had really wanted to get my hands on. One of which was the Jubilee fairy liquid and as soon as I knew they were bringing it out I searched and searched in vain to get some as I just love the original styled bottles and how they remind me of those sweet fairy liquid adverts. I had almost given up when I spied these in Sainsbury's last week....


Oh Joy. And then the husband presented me with one of these last night whilst we had a family barbecue in the garden....


When it was time to settle indoors I doned my very comfy UJ slippers....


   It was indeed a glorious day in sunny Wales yesterday, and such a difference to the previous rainy and windy day. The sky was a lovely clear blue in Conwy.... 


I also made a little appearance this Jubilee weekend on the television. It was a repeat of Bargain Hunt's 10th anniversary edition who thanks to Lindy  I found out it was on yesterday. It seems myself and my love of those candelabras made valuable entertainment and in the words of our expert Paul Laidlaw, was 'Bargain Hunt Gold'. If you are bored and would like a giggle, you can see what the fuss is about here around 1 minute 15 seconds, and 23 minutes and 20 seconds in. I thought the candelabras were very pretty and am so happy I purchased them back off the lovely gentleman who bid his five pounds for the pair. It was a private deal sealed by myself away from the cameras, and in no way influenced by the Bargain Hunt producers. With me giving him ten pounds he was more than happy to have doubled his money and for myself and Mary to have our splendid Bargain Hunt memento's. Here is mine looking rather dashing....


And Mary's taking pride of place in her wonderful home....


Maybe I had it all wrong and they are the ugliest things in all the world. I happen to think even if our expert thought them rather 'tacky' my heart ruled my head when I followed my nose and found them. Maybe it was just meant to be, and the fact they only sold for a tiny £5 meant I could buy them back and I think lovely that we both have them as a memory of the special and fun day we had. I bet these infamous candlebras may be worth more than a fiver now, though of course in my eyes are pricless.

 The beautiful and sunny weather yesterday meant Miss Poppins and I could indeed wear our Jubilee dresses, it was such a beautiful day to wear them and we had a lovely family day, which included  chips by the sea front, ice-cream and chocolate....


So, I hope you have all had a joyous Jubilee, and I for one can't wait to dig into that pretty biscuit tin....

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